Senegalese Chicken Yassa

When i was a baby, my parents were expatriated to Dakar, Senegal for almost a year. My mom brought back this recipe with her. She has always been making it. I cannot tell why but I am very attached to this dish… Maybe it reminds me of the smell of the kitchen then or just of soul of the country I lived in.

Side note: Apparently, in the Casamance region of Senegal, where the dish originated, Monkey Yassa, is considered a delicacy. Food for thought. 🙂

SENEGALESE YASSA CHICKENTime: 1h + at least 3h to marinate

1 big fresh hormone and antibiotic free chicken
2 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1kg thinly sliced red onions
1 chili (optional with kids)
peanut or canola oil
3 tsp apple cider vinegar
4 minced garlic cloves

500g rice or bulgur to serve with it


  1. Cut the fresh chicken, separating the breast, thighs and wings.
  2. In a large bowl, prepare marinade by mixing the lemon juice, onions, salt, pepper, minced chile, and 5 tablespoons of oil.
  3. Place the chicken pieces in the marinade, making sure that they are all well covered.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the chicken to marinate for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator. Over night is even better.
  5. Preheat the broiler. 
  6. Remove the chicken pieces and reserve the marinade.
  7. Place the chicken pieces on the broiler rack and grill them until they are lightly browned. If you have a BBQ, doing this on the BBQ, it is even better as you get the traditional “charcoal taste”.
  8. Pour the marinade ( mostly just onions) in a pot and stir fry. Cook them slowly until tender. It is ok to let them burn a bit, it will give the dish a “traditional” taste.
  9. Add just a bit of water, with a wooden spoon, scrap the “burnt” off the pot’s side to mix it with the rest.
  10. Add the chicken pieces and 2 cups water and let simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.

3 thoughts on “Senegalese Chicken Yassa

    • Hello Sophie, I bought it @ the Swiss Butcher in Greenwood, BUkit Timah. You can really taste the difference and I do not think it is only psychological.
      30/32 Greenwood Avenue Singapore 289230
      Tel:(65)6468-7588 Fax:(65)6468-7971
      Opening hours: 9.30am – 7.00pm Daily

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